So often I hear about elders who have been ripped off in what’s come to be known as the “granny scam.” This is when a crook calls and claims to be a grandchild stuck in some foreign country. After playing on the victim’s emotions and hijacking their mind with sympathy, then the scammer tries to pull down the invisibility cloak by telling the elder to keep their problem secret: “Don’t tell Mom and Dad–they’ll be so mad!” This, of course, is the scammer’s way of preventing their target from asking anyone about their grandchild’s whereabouts and stopping the scam in its tracks.
Secrecy is the basis for dividing the victim from their family or others who are looking out for them. In numerous other frauds the crooks will tell the elder not to tell anyone about the sweepstakes they’ve just won, or the money they are willing to share with them, and on and on. Secrecy is a major tool to keep the elder under the criminal’s sway. Therefore, I encourage everyone to remind the elders in their lives that keeping a secret about anything to do with a possible scam is a recipe for pain and destruction.